Friday March 26, 1999
Yesterday (March 25, 1999), President Clinton signed into law the Nursing Home Resident Protection Act. The Act had passed both houses of Congress with little opposition.
Under the new law, nursing homes that do not participate in the Medicaid program must warn incoming residents they can be evicted or transferred if they cannot continue to pay privately, e.g., with long-term care insurance.
The law also provides that a nursing home cannot evict or transfer existing Medicaid patients if and when the nursing home decides to withdraw from Medicaid.
Why would nursing homes not participate in or withdraw from Medicaid? Medicaid typically pays only 80 percent of the private pay rate. In some cases, Medicaid reimburses less than the cost of providing care.
According to Linda Keegan, Vice President of the American Health Care Association, "We will see more and more nursing homes opt out of Medicaid because of the inadequacy of Medicaid payments."
The message? Plan ahead with private long-term care insurance to avoid dependence on an increasingly imperiled public welfare program.
"New Law Protects Patients on Medicaid From Eviction," The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 1999 at http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB92240864545814470.htm
Robert Pear, "Bill Protecting Medicaid Patients is Signed,"
New York Times, March 26, 1999 at http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/032699nursing-homes.html